General Chemistry/Predicting Chemical Reactions
Types of Reactions
There are several guidelines that can help you predict what kind of chemical reaction will occur between a mixture of chemicals.
- Several pure elements mixed together may undergo a synthesis reaction.
- A single compound may undergo a decomposition reaction. It often forms water or hydrogen gas.
- A pure element mixed with an ionic compound may undergo a single replacement reaction.
- Two different ionic compounds are very likely to undergo a double replacement reaction.
- An organic compound (containing carbon and hydrogen) can usually react with oxygen in a combustion reaction.
However, not all elements will react with each other. To better predict a chemical reaction, knowledge of the reactivity series is needed.
- Red: elements that react with water and acids to form hydrogen gas, and with oxygen.
- Orange: elements that react very slowly with water but strongly with acids.
- Yellow: elements that react with acid to form hydrogen gas, and with oxygen.
- Grey: elements that react with oxygen (tarnish).
- White: elements that are often found pure; relatively nonreactive.